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Nicholas O'Leary is Afloat's November Sailor of the Month

27th November 2010
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Nicholas "Nin" O'Leary of Cork has re-written the Irish sailing records, and he's only 24. The new All Ireland Champion Helm is clear winner of the Afloat.ie/Irish Independent "Sailor of the Month" award for November after a nail-biting finale in difficult conditions off Kinsale, making it three-in-a-row for this junior skipper who was winning major titles with impressive scorelines well before he was out of his teens.

The wind was drawing from the east for the 20th November shootout in the ISA's SailFleet of J/80s. But the challenge lay in the fact that, after a week of strong winds up to gale force, a massive swell was rolling in past the Bulman Buoy to provide sea conditions which were out of sync with the strength of the breeze.

Yet the three top Royal Cork helms showed they were up to the challenge. In fact, it was Neil Kenefick, in the championship through being tops in the ICRA series in 2010, who best got to grips with the racing in the early stages, posting two wins with Anthony O'Leary second in the first race, while son Nicholas was second in the next one.

But the junior O'Leary moved nearer to retaining the title by winning the third, though his father was right there with a second, while James Espey from the Lasers posted a third. However, Kenefick was in touch with a fourth, but that became his discount as he nailed a couple of thirds in the two concluding races.

Going into the fifth and final race, the three Crosshaven helms were neck-and-neck on points, but O'Leary Junior put it neatly away by slicing in ahead of his father, with Kenefick third. The Corkmen were out on their own, as next in line was Puppeteer 22 Champion Garret May, but he concluded with 18 net points, while Neil Kenefick was on 8, Anthony O'Leary on 7, and Nicholas O'Leary the supreme champion on 6. And making a bit of history while he was at it - the first three-in-a-row in the All Ireland's 64 years.

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